This Monday, August 28th, Team Chile marked an important milestone ahead of Santiago 2023: the official announcement of the two athletes in charge of carrying the national flag during the opening ceremony of the Pan American Games on October 20th.
The date is just around the corner, and this morning, the mystery was finally solved. Kristel Köbrich, the best swimmer in the history of our country and ambassador of the Games, along with Esteban Grimalt, who with his cousin Marco have formed the most successful beach volleyball Chilean duo, were the outstanding names chosen by the Chilean Olympic Committee.
Köbrich (38) and Grimalt (32) were designated not only to carry the tricolor flag in the Estadio Nacional, but also to represent the largest delegation that Chile has ever had in a major sport event, with nearly 680 high-performance athletes who’ll be part of the multisport event.
Between the two athletes they have won six Pan American medals. They've been part of international tournaments countless times, as well as Olympic Games, among other great sporting achievements, which put them in a privileged position in the history of local sports.
“It’s a great honor for me, my family, and for those who’ve been involved in the process we’ve lived through for so many years. The fact that it’s here at home makes it heartwarming, and as it’s the most important tournament in the history of our country, it’s a dream for us, and we want to make the most of it,” said Esteban Grimalt, who will have the challenge of defending the Pan American gold achieved in Lima 2019.
For her part, Kristel Köbrich, a specialist in long-distance swimming added that “it’s a great honor and a privilege to have even been considered on the list. I never imagined carrying the Chilean flag at the Estado Nacional, just as I never imagined competing in five Olympic Games or many other things in my career. It’s still something very nice, so I’m very happy and grateful.”
Chilean flag bearers and the national sports authorities. (Picture: Santiago 2023).
“THEY’LL BE THE FACES OF A VERY SYMBOLIC MOMENT”
The activity was attended by the country's top sports authorities: the minister of the portfolio, Jaime Pizarro; the Sports Undersecretary, Antonia Illanes; the Chilean Olympic Committee President and Santiago 2023 Chief Officer, Miguel Ángel Mujica; and the Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation in charge of the Games, Harold Mayne-Nicholls.
At the event, Minister Pizarro made clear the relevance of this appointment stating that “I want to congratulate you because you will not only be part of our country's team, but you will be the faces that will directly represent us in such a symbolic moment as these Games are. I have no doubt that you’ll have an additional incentive.”
Besides, the Chilean Olympic Committee President added that “it was very difficult to choose because the list was long, with at least 10 male athletes and 10 female athletes as candidates. Kristel is not only a great athlete but also a great person. In Esteban’s case it’s the best of both worlds, since he is also the captain of Team Chile, so we’ll be very well represented.”
Harold Mayne-Nicholls also valued positively the athletes chosen, arguing that “from my point of view, the names are wonderful. Kristel, one of our top Pan American medal winners, and Esteban, who won gold in Lima and is aiming to repeat it here with Marco. The fact that they’ll be our flag bearers in the Estadio Nacional is fantastic news.”
Written by: Carlos Ramírez Salazar.
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